Double Bill – Cormac O’Brien Quartet featuring Kit Downes and Stan Sulzmann – Paul Dunlea Septet Book Tickets

Thursday 25 February

Music Network Artist Residency
Phil Ware Concert Series
Double Bill Cormac O’Brien Quartet featuring Kit Downes and Stan Sulzmann
Paul Dunlea Septet with Stan Sulzmann

Cormac O’Brien Quartet

Stan Sulzmann (UK), tenor sax

Kit Downes (UK), piano

Cormac O’Brien, bass

Shane O’Donovan, drums


Paul Dunlea Septet

Paul Dunlea, trombone

Ryan Quigley (UK), trumpet

Karl Rooney, tenor sax

Julien Colarossi (ITA), guitar

Cormac McCarthy, piano

Eoin Walsh, bass

Davie Ryan, drums


Double Bill: Cormac O’Brien Quartet Featuring Stan Sulzmann and Kit Downes


Double bassist Cormac O’Brien brings together a new quartet for a special one-off show. This incarnation of the group will explore original music penned by its members, reflecting both the jazz quartet tradition and a more expansive and modern aesthetic. Elements of rock, free, blues and swing are all combined giving a broad base of musical styles to play from.

Dubliner Cormac O’Brien has been a central part of the Irish jazz scene for over a decade as a sideman, band leader, venue promoter, educator and composer. On drums, long time collaborator Shane O’Donovan makes up the other half of the rhythm section, while two special guests from the UK’s vibrant and historic jazz scene make up the front line. Pianist Kit Downes is a star in the making, having worked with many of the top jazz musicians in the world and also achieving critical acclaim for his own projects as a prolific composer with a varied and dynamic range of styles at his disposal. Saxophone veteran Stan Sulzmann completes the quartet, bringing a wealth of experience and a depth of sound that reflect his lifetime of immersion in the music.


Paul Dunlea Septet with Stan Sulzmann 


Although at home in a variety of musical styles, Cork trombonist/composer Paul Dunlea concentrates primarily on jazz and improvisation, furthering his reputation as one of Irelands most in-demand trombonists. Dunlea has performed/toured/recorded with the likes of Mick Flannery, Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Bryce Dressner (The National), The Crash Ensemble, the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra, Hot House Big Band, Cormac McCarthy’s Cottage Evolution, Niall McCabe Band and The Hardground.


In 2011 Dunlea released his debut album Bi-polAr to critical acclaim, and 2016 will see the release of his second album, recorded at the renowned Bunker Studios, Brooklyn, NYC, and featuring bassist Peter Washington, drummer Billy Drummond, guitarist David O’ Rourke and Cork’s Cormac McCarthy.


In 2013 Dunlea established his own Big Band as a creative outlet for his compositions. To date, the band has performed sell-out shows across the country in venues such as the Opera House, Cork and the Grand Opera House, Belfast, as well as the 2015 Cork Jazz Festival.


Recently, Dunlea performed alongside some of the biggest names on the New York jazz scene, commemorating the music of Frank Sinatra. The band, led by Irish-born guitarist David O’ Rourke, played eight sell-out shows at the famous Jazz Standard Club and featured the likes of Lewis Nash, Peter Bernstein, Ryan Keberle, Clarke Gayton, Peter Washington, Tim Rees and Jeremy Pelt.



Music Network in partnership with Triskel Arts Centre and supported by Cork City Council deliver a six-month jazz residency curated by Phil Ware.

The residency is the first of its kind in Ireland. Not only will it unite some of the finest musicians from the international and Irish jazz scenes in collaboration over five concerts, it will also give a selected group of students from CIT and tutors from Music Generation a unique chance to study and play with these musicians in an unparalleled series of workshops and masterclasses.

Launching at the Guinness Jazz Festival in October, the residency kicks off in fine style as one of the top jazz guitarists in the world, Peter Bernstein, joins forces with Phil Ware’s trio. December sees the trio working with vocalist Ian Shaw, trumpeter Anders Bergcrantz and tenor saxophonist Bobby Wellins – all three with a string of awards to their names – to shine a spotlight on that oft-maligned genre, the popular song, with particular emphasis on the catalogue of Burt Bacharach. In January, an eight-strong group of musicians from Ireland, Venezuela, Germany and the UK display their love of the lilting melodies and driving beats of Brazil in a concert showcasing compositions by the incredible Hermeto Pascoal, as well as classics from Rio and beyond. Rising star, UK pianist Kit Downes, features alongside celebrated saxophonist Stan Sulzmann in Cormac O’Brien’s quartet in February, sharing a double bill with Cork trombonist, composer and arranger Paul Dunlea’s seven-piece group. Finally, the residency comes to a spectacular close in March as rhythm & blues and jazz legend Georgie Fame makes a very welcome return to Ireland, in the company of well-loved Irish guitarist Hugh Buckley and the Phil Ware Trio – a swinging affair indeed.





Kit writes, performs and teaches music, as well as playing the piano, Hammond Organ, church organ and various other keyboards in a variety of different ensembles.

Having originally been an organ scholar at St. Peter Mancroft in Norwich, he left to

study piano, organ and composition at both the Purcell School of Music (where he now teaches),

and later at the Royal Academy of Music (where he is now an Associate). Kit began performing

with and composing for the UK band Empirical, with whom he toured the US, Canada and

Europe (playing at Newport Jazz Festival), whilst also touring with Acoustic Ladyland, Micachu,

Fraud, Django Bates, 4Hero and Nostalgia 77.


Kit has also toured with his own groups (a piano trio and a quintet) throughout Europe, the

US and Canada and similarly with Troyka. He has received a BBC Jazz Award, a British Jazz

Award and a Mercury Music Award nomination for his albums. Kit has released three more albums since then, and now tours with his own group Tricko (a piano/cello duet featuring cellist Lucy Railton), Troyka, Julian Arguelles’ Quartet, Sarah Gillespie, Thomas Stronen and Sylvain Darrifourcq, playing all over the world. In 2013 he was nominated in the Rising Star category in

Downbeat Magazine (US), and in 2014 won the ‘Best Album’ at the Parliamentary Jazz

Awards. Kit now teaches at the Purcell School of Music, and Aldeburgh Young Musicians, as well as working with workshop leader and educator Eugene Skeef.


Last year he was asked by the Southbank Centre to write a new work for the opening

festival of the recently refurbished Royal Festival Hall Organ, and has previously been

commissioned by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, the Wellcome Trust, BBC Radio 2, BBC Jazz

on 3, Jazzwise magazine, the Cologne Philharmonie, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, London

Contemporary Music Festival, London Jazz Festival and Aldeburgh Music.

Kit has also collaborated on a range of acoustic and electronic instruments with composers Matt

Rogers and Mica Levi, electronic musician Leafcutter John, drummer Seb Rochford, artist Dave

McKean, animator Lesley Barnes and geneticist Adam Rutherford.


Stan Sulzmann

 ‘But a shining light of the whole attractive enterprise is the presence of Stan Sulzmann, who seems to sound more personal and hauntingly moving than ever.’

John Fordham, Jazz UK

A veteran of the UK jazz scene, Stan Sulzmann has a rich and varied career that has included playing with musicians as diverse as Kenny WheelerLarry Grenadier and Gwilym Simcock, as well as a prolific output as bandleader.

Always moving forward, Stan’s Neon Quartet sees him amongst some of the UKs most sought-after young musicians, and their latest album, Subjekt, explores Stan’s ever-developing musical influences. Stan is also a highly respected composer and arranger; his vibrant big band arrangements have excited and inspired people for the last 25 years, and in 2013 Stan was commissioned to write an original piece for the London Jazz Festival.

Highly in demand as a sideman, Stan has worked with a host of musicians, including John TaylorJim MullenNikki IlesMike GibbsMarc CoplandAllan BotchinksyEuropean Jazz EnsembleMichael Brecker and Gil Evans.

‘It simply doesn’t get any better than this.’  John Kelman


Cormac O’Brien

Cormac is one of Dublin’s most prominent double bass players and has performed and recorded with many of Ireland’s finest musicians such as Louis Stewart, Tommy Halferty, Michael Buckley, Hugh Buckley, The Kai Big Band, The Zoid Ensemble, Lunfardia, Yurodny and Jack L. He has also played with a range of international artists such as Bobby Watson, Pete Churchill, Ernie Watts, Marshall Gilkes, Rick Margitza, Ryan Quigley, John Riley, Bruce Adams and many more. He has held the bass chair in the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra since its inception and is a member of the Hibernian Orchestra. Cormac also co-founded the group Rhythm Method, for which he also composes. Other current projects include playing in Mary Coughlan’s band, Phisqa, Inni-K and Riona Sally Hartman’s band. In 2012 Cormac set up the Jazz Central, a short lived but successful jazz venue, and has been involved with other collectives such as Rutland Place and Donkey Jaw Productions.


‘Arguably the cream of the crop, however, was the bass solo by Cormac O’Brien, who filled Dave Holland’s shoes with aplomb.’

Ian Patterson, All About Jazz



Shane O’Donovan

Shane is a Dublin-based drummer and producer. Currently very active on the Dublin jazz scene, he is involved alongside some of Ireland’s leading jazz musicians in a variety of projects including OKO, Multiverse, Rhythm Method, Kavorka and the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra. He has also worked with many top international musicians such as Ernie Watts, Rick Margitza, Ian Shaw, Guy Barker, John Stowell, Greg Osby, Greg Burke, and Jamie Oehlers to name a few. Shane also teaches drums and jazz performance on the Batchelor of Arts in Jazz Performance programme at Newpark School of Music.



UK-born pianist Phil Ware made the transition from blues to jazz in his early twenties. Teaching himself the style through trial and error, he was twice a finalist in the Young Jazz Musician of the Year by the time he was 25. After moving to Ireland, he rapidly established himself as a major player on the scene, where his hard-swinging, bop-tinged style made him much in demand from Irish and international musicians. His career has taken him throughout Europe and as far afield as America, Asia and the Middle East, and his long-standing trio with bassist Dave Redmond and drummer Kevin Brady has twice represented Ireland at the prestigious Eurojazz Festival in Mexico City.


Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 14.40.06

Season At A Glance